Oatmeal has been a favorite breakfast food of mine (and probably yours) for years, but there are many ways to eat oatmeal outside of breakfast that you can take advantage of. Lower in carbs than other grains and higher in fiber, oatmeal is perhaps one of the best grains to eat if you’re looking to lose weight. Then there’s the potassium and protein content of oats to consider. Oatmeal contains more potassium than a banana per serving, which makes it a great grain to keep your blood pressure low. Oatmeal also has seven grams of protein per half cup to help you stay fuller longer and keep your blood sugar levels steady. Try out some of these different ways to eat oatmeal outside of a hot porridge and let me know what you think!
1. Replacement for Flour
If you miss having cookies and other delicious baked goods, one of the best ways to eat oatmeal is to use it as a one to one replacement for regular flour. Sure, you can buy oat flour, or you can save money and pulse whole oats in a food processor for a few seconds to make your own. You can also just use whole rolled oats (instead of pulsing them) as a replacement for flour, but you will need to let the batter sit several minutes to let the whole oats absorb the liquid ingredients.
2. As a Dessert Topping
Making apple crisp or banana nut bread? Pulse some whole rolled oats in a food processor with some cinnamon and a natural sweetener such as coconut sugar or baking stevia. Now you’ve got your own healthy streusel topping to improve the nutrition of your dessert recipes. This will also help keep you fuller longer than using pre-made mixes with refined ingredients.
3. In a Smoothie
Adding ⅓ cup oats to your smoothie is a great way to turn it into a meal in minutes. This can be used in any smoothie recipe you choose if you’re looking for a quick meal on the go and don’t have time to sit down and eat. One tasty combination includes oats, almond milk, blueberries, frozen banana, chia seeds, flax seeds, spinach, a chocolate green superfood powder, cinnamon, and some vegan vanilla protein mix.
4. At the Dinner Table
Tired of rice or quinoa for dinner? Use oats instead! Cook oats savory style with whatever flavors you normally enjoy. Oatmeal is awesome with some black pepper, garlic, ginger, and turmeric for an ethnic dish and it tastes great paired with Italian spices and tomatoes if you’re craving something naughty like pizza or lasagna.
5. Quick Granola Bars
There are multitudes of granola bar recipes out there to choose from, but all you basically need are some simple ingredients: oats, your favorite nut or seed butter, dried fruit, nuts and seeds, protein powder, cinnamon, and a natural sweetener like banana puree, applesauce, or even a touch of brown rice syrup (which is low on the glycemic index). Choose whatever ingredients you like, then just mix and bake. For recipe ideas, try out these yummy granola bar creations: 7 Granola Recipes You Won't Be Able to Stop Eating.
6. A Lunch Staple
If you’re tired of oatmeal for breakfast, try having it for lunch instead. One of my favorite ways to eat oats is to make an overnight oatmeal dish to carry with me to work. I love Purely Elizabeth’s Organic Ancient Grains Oatmeal, which contains chia, quinoa, gluten-free oats, hemp seeds, amaranth puffs, and flax seeds. It pairs great with a banana, almond milk, cinnamon, and some vanilla liquid stevia, and it will keep you full and energized for hours.
7. To Make Breakfast Cookies
Making breakfast cookies is an easy way to still use oats in the morning without having to prepare them on the stovetop. You can also make them in batches if you’re short on time throughout the week. Breakfast cookies are much like granola bars, they're just shaped into cookies rather than bars. They’re also great to eat if you like the idea of having a dessert for breakfast!
You can use any oats that you like, whether they be rolled or old-fashioned, oat bran, instant or quick-cook, steel cut, or even whole oat groats. Just keep in mind you’ll need to cook steel-cut or whole oat groats much longer than quick-cook or rolled varieties. Do you use oatmeal in any of these creative ways, or do you have your own idea?